Counting the costs and benefits of e-learning

As the Internet and computers have grown in prominence, we’ve increasingly found ourselves moving our learning online, but there are still a lot of companies who insist on putting all of their training into the physical space. Naturally, we at Webanywhere are huge advocates of improving training provisions using online methods – though not at the total expense of classroom-based learning! “Blended learning” is very much the way forward at the moment, and when you look at the costs and benefits it’s clear why.

Costs of implementing training for existing staff According to The Information Daily1, 85p from every pound set aside for training is spent on actually delivering it, leaving just 15p for the course content! In addition to preventing people from actually working during the course, this includes the cost of things such as room hire, teaching fees and equipment, and it quickly becomes clear that this isn’t a sensible or a sustainable way to train large numbers of employees. By contrast an e-learning approach using an LMS, despite a higher initial startup cost, ultimately leads to lower costs elsewhere and a more long-term, reusable approach. As we can see from the graphs below1, this applies both to training existing staff and inducting new ones – in both cases a higher initial outlay leads to long-term savings. According to one study, you could save up to 70% over instructor-based methods4.

Costs of inducting new staff As touched on above, the flexibility and scalability of e-learning is also one of its key advantages – after initial setup, costs are very limited to deploy programmes to either very narrow or very broad focuses – it’s simply a matter of specifying course access to the right people. Where with brick-and-mortar learning this requires the drawing up of guest lists, hiring of event venues and the sorting out of timetables to ensure the maximum number of people can attend. It doesn’t matter with e-learning whether you need to train one person or a thousand, all that’s needed is the initial outlay in creating the course.

This is not to say, though, that the only benefits are material in terms of savings – using a blended learning approach can help your employees to retain information for longer, its wider range of learning styles appealing to different people’s personalities3. Perhaps some work better through video training, some might prefer to read sheets while others could prefer interactive quiz/form-based learning. Additionally, revision of information at intervals has been proven to improve memory and retention – with an LMS you can simply go over the information again rather than holding another costly seminar or training session.

Not only can you help your employees to learn better with an online approach, you can see for yourself the benefits through tracking their progress. Totara, for example allows you to see how much of a course an employee has completed as well as providing data for you to graph and track. This benefits in the area of lifelong learning – a single instructor-based session ends when staff leave, and tracking its progress is difficult to say the least, while online it’s simply a matter of checking profiles.

These are just a few of the many ways your organisation can benefit from embracing e-learning. Get involved with the future of training and teaching, contact us today to find out how we can help your organisation implement a robust, world-standard LMS.

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